A crash course in the beauty industry

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Claire Ballor, News Editor

 

The best way to describe my job this past summer is “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” meets “Devil Wears Prada.” Take out the romance, swap Los Angeles for New York and switch out the fashion for the beauty industry and you have a fairly good idea of what my summer job was like. If those movie references went over your head, you’re either a guy or you have more intelligent movie choices, and I hold nothing against you.

This summer I found myself amongst the calorie-counters, the vegan ChapStick wearers (meaning the ChapStick itself is vegan … I know, I didn’t know that was a thing, either), the facial and exfoliating enthusiasts, and the Beverly Hills elite.

I was an editorial intern for a beauty magazine in Los Angeles and can now say that I have tried and tested just about every shade of red lipstick and can tell you the forecast for next spring’s nail polish color.

On top of writing and publishing two to three articles a day on everything from Korean plastic surgery to every Kim Kardashian photoshop disaster to date, I was also a beauty product guinea pig and product reviewer.

Justin Bieber’s new perfume? Tried it (and loved it – no regrets in admitting this). Neon lip stain for this year’s ComicCon? Wouldn’t come off for days. You could pretty much name any beauty product or brand, and chances are I’ve tried it.

It was my moral duty to serve the women of the world by putting myself on the dangerous forefront of the line of beauty. At least that’s what I had to tell myself when I’d come home with burned hair from faulty curling irons, textured chartreuse nail polish that wouldn’t come off for days, and snail mucus moisturizer on my face.

But this job definitely had its perks. Every day, at least five packages would come in to the magazine headquarters full of new beauty products to be tried and tested, not for safety (I would have needed to be paid more for that), but for effectiveness and likeability. The kicker? Anything I tested was mine to keep.

Let’s just say I left Los Angeles with a 70-pound suitcase of beauty products – absolutely none of which I needed, nor does anyone actually need, but don’t tell the beauty world I said that.

Along with testing beauty products and writing reviews, I was also an interviewer and story-hunter for the magazine. I attended promotional events and product releases for beauty lines and the occasional workout soiree. If you’re not from LA or Manhattan, you probably didn’t know that a new workout fad comes out about once every two weeks. Prior to this experience, my knowledge of group workouts began and ended with yoga.

The most socially intimidated I have ever been was at a workout soiree in Santa Monica where I was surrounded by Lululemon athletic wear and toe shoes and forced to participate in a 40-minute POUND fitness class while sipping on vegan hemp protein drinks that tasted like sand.

POUND is a workout that had a short stint in the LA fitness world spotlight, and its dangerous combination of cardio and drumsticks left my thighs crying for days. If you happen to be in the 0.1 percent of people that have been desperately looking for a way to combine their affinity for playing the drums with working out, this class is for you.

I don’t have any plans to work in the beauty industry, I still don’t count my calories and I have yet to understand the difference between face lotion and moisturizing serums, but I gained unparalleled experience in writing and journalism while getting a pretty good taste of what life is like outside of academia. All I have to say is, I’m happy to be here, and these next two years at the University of Dallas have a little more meaning now.

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